Portland State University. Department of Political Science
Date of Award
Master of Science (M.S.) in Political Science
1 online resource (99 p.)
Malcolm X (1925-1965), Huey P Newton, Black Panther Party -- History, African Americans -- Relations with Africans, Black power -- United States -- History
American Political Thought has presented somewhat of a challenge to many because of the conflict between the ideals found within the "American Creed" and the reality of America's treatment of ethnic and social minorities. The various forms of marginalization and oppression facing women, blacks, Native Americans, and Asian-Americans have been as much a part of the story of America as have been natural rights and the Constitution.
Taking this into account, this thesis is an effort to argue that the radicalism on display in the Black Panther Party, a group that emerged in the turmoil of the 1960' s, was a direct descendant of the ideas found within the Black Power movement. It will be argued that these militant critiques of American society were radical, but were not so radical as to be viewed as outside of the context provided by the ideals found in the American Creed.
In order to do so, it will be necessary first to present and analyze the various approaches toward explaining the content and nature of the American Creed. The Creed will be presented as separate from American political reality, as an ideal type. As a result it appears to be a rather amorphous tool which can be used both by supporters of a more robust realization of the Creed's ideals and those who wish to limit the scope of these ideals.
Having discussed these approaches toward the American Creed, a discussion of radical political ideas will serve to introduce the Black Power movement and the later Black Panther Party. It will be argued that the radical ideas on display were born out of a frustration with American society, but were at the same time an endorsement of the American Creed. It will be concluded that the American Creed is a powerful force acting upon American political thought, so powerful that even those who should rationally reject the Creed forcefully embrace it.
Cooney, Christopher Thomas, "Radicalism in American Political Thought : Black Power, the Black Panthers, and the American Creed" (2007). Dissertations and Theses. Paper 3238.